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How does the Lebaniego compare with other caminos?

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#1
Hi all!
After doing around 200km of the Frances in 2015 and the Portuguese last year, of course the camino bug is still active and I was thinking of a new route.
The idea of doing part of the Norte and entering the Lebaniego to end in the monastery of Santo Toribio is sounding like a good option that I could fit in my limited leave. I usually cannot take more than 15 days in a row for holidays.

That said, does the Lebaniego require any extra preparation than other caminos? It seems quite tough at some points. Any especial advice, or different equipment? How does it compare to the end of Frances or the Portuguese?

Also, if I was looking for a 8-10day walk, where would you recommend me to start? I would really like to try part of the Norte :) (edit: I usually walk +- 20km/day, and I am very happy to do a bit less in the mountains!)
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
#2
If you're interested in the Norte, start at the beginning in Irun and take it as far as time allows. The scenery in the first part is just beautiful and IMO fairly representative of a good part of the route.

Don't know anything about the Lebaniego but am interested to hear what others have to say. Not that I really need any more choices at the moment....
 
Camino(s) past & future
.
#3
Hi Anamya
I'd look into whether you can get special access or actually stay at the monastery at ST. That might make it a more powerful experience. If you just walk up there it can be a bit of an anticlimax: the holy relic is kept some distance away from prying eyes, in a secure box that's some distance from the protective iron railings which are themselves behind thick glass - you're not actually going to leave there saying "I saw the holy relic". Otherwise, apart from the chapel, there's just a small cloister and an interesting door. Also a gift shop and parking for about 50 coaches.
The thing that stopped me warming to the Lebaniego is that too often you sense the dead, bureacratic hand of the Cantabrian authorities in its design and management. And an absence of any consultation with local pilgrim associations and amigos - that's was my sense anyway, in 2016. There's a few km of steep mountain path after Cicera, but otherwise it's pretty standard but with a lot of road.
I think Intrepidtraveler's recommendation of just starting at the beginning of the Norte and seeing where you get to is a pretty good one. Then you can pick it up again another time - I think you can have a meaningful last day without necessarily having to arrive at a cathedral or monastery - non?
I think it's also worth looking at the Vasco/Interior route that also starts in Irun. After a couple of days in built up areas it turns all lovely and interesting. And the cathedral experience/tour of Santa Maria at Vitoria/Gasteiz is stunning. That's one I'll definitely do again.
Cheers, tom
 

amancio

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Aragon, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno
#4
Hi! lebaniego is quite lonely, you start with a lovely walk by river Nansa, then lots of tarmac (no traffic, though), and after Cicera son tough mountain ground and stunning views before going back to tarmac a few miles before beautiful Potes.

Peregrino_Tom mentions above: "I'd look into whether you can get special access or actually stay at the monastery at ST. That might make it a more powerful experience. If you just walk up there it can be a bit of an anticlimax: the holy relic is kept some distance away from prying eyes, in a secure box that's some distance from the protective iron railings which are themselves behind thick glass - you're not actually going to leave there saying "I saw the holy relic". "

That is not what happened to me and the group of us. Not only did a priest show us the cross, but he also brought it out of its glass cabinet and even let us touch the lignum crucis, no problem at all. I would, however, continue from Santo Toribio towards Espinama, Picos de Europa, Portilla de la Reina, Riaño, Cistierna... stunning!!!
 

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